Formula One

 
                      === Button perfect in Belgian GP ===
 
 Spa,  Belgium (Sports  Network) - Jenson Button from McLaren put on a flawless
 performance  to win  Sunday's  Belgian Grand  Prix, a  race  highlighted by  a
 massive crash on the opening lap.
 
 Button,  the pole  sitter, led from start  to finish in the 44-lap race at the
 4.352-mile, 19-turn Spa-Francorchamps circuit. He crossed the finish line 13.6
 seconds  ahead of two-time defending world champion and last year's Belgian GP
 winner  Sebastian Vettel  from Red Bull. Button recorded his second win of the
 season  and  the 14th of  his Formula One career.  His first victory this year
 came in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
 
 "What  can I say,"  Button said. "To get a victory here from lights to flag is
 very  special, especially since this hasn't been the easiest year for me. It's
 been  a  very special  weekend. We're going  to enjoy this  for a little while
 longer before we head to Monza (Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 9)."
 
 While  Button  quickly pulled  away from  the field at  the start, a multi-car
 crash  occurred  heading into  the first corner,  involving Ferrari driver and
 current  points  leader Fernando  Alonso, as well  as Button's teammate, Lewis
 Hamilton, and Romain Grosjean from Lotus.
 
 Grosjean  and Hamilton made tire contact when Grosjean attempted to jump ahead
 of  Hamilton at the  start. Hamilton hit the rear of Grosjean, who then sailed
 over Alonso's car. Sergio Perez from Sauber was also involved in the incident.
 There  were no injuries; however, Alonso appeared to be shaken up as he slowly
 climbed out of his damaged car.
 
 "It  was  a good  start, but  then it was  a big  boom," Grosjean recalled. "I
 completely lost control of the car. The main thing is that everybody is okay."
 
 Button and Vettel both capitalized on a one pit stop strategy, while the other
 front  runners  made two stops.  Vettel started 10th  after failing to make it
 into the third and final segment in Saturday's qualifying.
 
 "It was a crazy race from where I started," Vettel said. "The start was not so
 good,  and after the  first corner where a lot of cars went off, it was pretty
 crazy.  Fortunately, we came back with a fantastic strategy. The car was quite
 good in the race, and we were able to pick up some pace."
 
 Kimi  Raikkonen from  Lotus finished  third,  followed by  Force India's  Nico
 Hulkenberg and Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa.
 
 "It was not the easiest day for me and the team," Raikkonen said. "The car was
 not  exactly to  our liking. I was fighting  to get the best out of it, and we
 managed to get some key points. That was the main thing."
 
 Alonso  remained  atop the  world championship standings,  but Vettel moved to
 within  24 points  of the leader. Mark Webber's sixth-place finish dropped the
 Red  Bull driver from  second to third in standings, as he trails Alonso by 32
 points.
 
 "I'm  fine, except my  left shoulder hurts a bit," Alonso said after his 22nd-
 place  finish.  "I went to the  medical center immediately after the accident,
 but everything is alright. The pain only comes from the whiplash."
 
 Hamilton is 47 points behind Alonso, while Button moved to within 63 points of
 the leader following his win.
 
 "I don't really want to talk about the start," said Hamilton, who placed 23rd.
 "I  think everyone  saw what happened. It's  just a shame. This wasn't a great
 day  for  my world championship hopes  either, but I certainly won't be giving
 up."
 
 Michael  Schumacher, who competed in his 300th grand prix, finished seventh in
 his  Mercedes. Toro Rosso drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo placed
 eighth and ninth, respectively, while Paul di Resta from Force India completed
 the top-10.
 
 Just  before Schumacher pitted for the first time, he almost made contact with
 Vettel  in the chicane. Race stewards were investigating Schumacher's side-by-
 side  incident  with Vettel  after  the  event  had concluded.  Stewards  also
 investigated Webber for an incident he had with Massa late in the race.
 
 09/02 16:33:11 ET

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